See the Cast of ‘The Sixth Sense’ Then and Now
In 1999, M. Night Shyamalan entered the scene with his directorial debut, ‘The Sixth Sense.’ Starring Bruce Willis in one of the most acclaimed roles of his storied career, the film is a chilling tale of a boy who sees dead people with an infamous third act twist. With Shyamalan’s ‘After Earth‘ hitting theaters this week, let’s take a trip back to where it all began and check out the cast of ‘The Sixth Sense’ then and now.
Bruce Willis, Malcolm Crowe
Then: After shutting down production of ‘The Broadway Brawler’ by firing the director himself, Bruce Willis owed Disney two films — ‘The Sixth Sense’ was one of them, and writer/director M. Night Shyamalan wrote the character of Dr. Malcolm Crowe with Willis in mind. Willis was paid $10 million for the part, which was half of his usual pay.
Now: It’s a good thing Willis owed Disney some work because ‘The Sixth Sense’ is one of his most iconic roles, right alongside the ‘Die Hard’ franchise. Speaking of which, Willis recently reprised his role in a fifth ‘Die Hard’ film, ‘A Good Day to Die Hard.’ At the age of 58, he still kicks butt as an action star. You can see him next in ‘Red 2.’
Haley Joel Osment, Cole Sear
Then: The role of Cole Sear was originally turned down by ‘Henry Fool’ and ‘Stepmom’ star Liam Aiken — too bad for him because it’s the role that made young Haley Joel Osment a big deal. Shyamalan cast young Osment because he was impressed that he was the only kid who wore a tie to his audition, and had stayed up the night before to read the entire script three times.
Now: Osment went on to star in ‘Pay It Forward’ and ‘A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.’ He hasn’t been acting in front of the camera much in recent years, but he had a guest spot on a recent episode of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,’ and has two films in the works.
Toni Collette, Lynn Sear
Then: Australian actress Toni Collette auditioned for the role of Lynn as an afterthought, and didn’t even realize it was a horror film until filming was completed.
Now: Collette has starred in a bunch of stuff — most notably as the mom in ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and as the lead character in the tragically short-lived Showtime series ‘United States of Tara.’ You can see her next in the indie flick ‘The Way, Way Back.’
Olivia Williams, Anna Crowe
Then: British actress Olivia Williams had gained prior fame for her work in ‘The Postman’ and ‘Rushmore’ before signing on to play Anna, the wife of Bruce Willis’ Malcolm in ‘The Sixth Sense.’
Now: Williams starred in two big films last year: ‘Anna Karenina’ and ‘Hyde Park on Hudson,’ the latter of which reunited her with ‘Rushmore’ co-star Bill Murray.
Donnie Wahlberg, Vincent Grey
Then: Former New Kids on the Block member Donnie Wahlberg (brother of Mark, of course) lost 43 pounds for the small but crucial role of Vincent Grey in the film.
Now: Wahlberg recently reunited with the New Kids on the Block and ’90s boy group the Backstreet Boys for a new tour. He also appeared in four of the six ‘Saw’ films.
Mischa Barton, Kyra Collins
Then: ‘The Sixth Sense’ gave Mischa Barton her first big break as Kyra Collins, a young dead girl whom only Cole can see. You probably remember her part best for all the green vomit.
Now: Barton’s most memorable role came in 2003, when she played the role of Marissa Cooper on ‘The O.C.’ for three seasons. These days she’s starring in a lot of small indie B-movies, and recently had a role on a made-for-TV movie called ‘Cyberstalker.’
Bruce Norris, Stanley Cunningham
Then: Bruce Norris is an actor and playwright better known for his stage work. In ‘The Sixth Sense,’ he played Stanley Cunningham, Cole’s antagonistic teacher.
Now: Norris won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010 for his play, ‘Clybourne Park.’ He still dips his toes into film and television work from time to time, recently starring in the HBO movie version of ‘The Corrections,’ based on the acclaimed novel by Jonathan Franzen.